Previous studies had shown that kudzu extracts reduced alcohol drinking in rats and hamsters. In this study, researchers tested the effect of kudzu extract on drinking by humans in a naturalistic setting. Participants were randomized on a blind basis to receive either 4 capsules of the extract or placebo 2.5 hours before the start of an afternoon drinking session. This pretreatment time was selected based on our pharmacokinetic study of puerarin absorption and elimination (Penetar et al., 2006). Because alcoholism can interfere with the absorption of minerals and vitamins, supplementing certain nutrients — including vitamin C, selenium, magnesium and zinc — may help with cravings. The University of Maryland Medical Center also notes that the amino acids carnitine, glutamine and glutathione, when combined, may be able to reduce alcohol-related stress on the body as well as fluctuations in blood sugar, which can reduce cravings. According to New York University Langone Medical Center, the herb passion flower may be useful in reducing alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Dandelion may also be able to help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. A natural product called polyenylphosphatidylcholine may reduce liver damage in chronic alcohol abuse and fatty acid supplementation may reduce the severity of alcohol withdrawal while improving mood and overall cognitive performance. There is also evidence that the herbals ashwagondha, Ginseng, and select other natural products may reduce the severity of withdrawal from opiates, and reduce tolerance to cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine.
Kudzu root is linked to a wide range of potential health benefits from easing menopausal symptoms to treating alcohol dependence. Still, more research needs to be done to prove whether it’s truly effective. One small study looked at the effects of kudzu in 17 men ages 21–33 who reported drinking approximately 22–35 drinks per week. The researchers gave participants kudzu root for alcohol cravings either kudzu extract or a placebo every day for 4 weeks . A standardized formulation of kudzu extract produced minimal side effects, was well-tolerated, and resulted in a modest reduction in alcohol consumption in young nontreatment-seeking heavy drinkers. This is the fourth installment in a series of posts on non-pharmacologic approaches to alcohol and drug abuse.
Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. “There are also scattered reports of kudzu as far north as Michigan and New York, with populations in Ontario, Oregon, and Washington.” The article notes that in 1962, the Soil Conservation Service “limited its recommendation of kudzu to areas far removed from developed areas. Finally in 1970, the USDA listed kudzu as a common weed in the South.” About 3 million acres of kudzu had been planted on farms by 1946.” The amazing plant was promoted as cheap forage for livestock, and the government actually vigorously promoted it as a way to reduce soil erosion caused by poor farming practices. “In the late nineteenth century, kudzu seeds were imported and sold for use as an ornamental vine to shade porches and courtyards of Southern homes. It was also appreciated for the grape-like fragrance of its flowers and for its vigorous growth.”
They found that Kudzu treatment resulted in significant reduction in the number of beers consumed. As with many other OTC herbal supplements, there’s little convincing evidence that the aforementioned supplements are clinically effective treatments of alcohol dependency. There have been some scientific studies conducted, but a majority involve animal models and show modest findings that rarely translate into conclusive human trials. The primary danger of these supplements in those with alcohol dependency is not necessarily knowing the drug—drug interaction potential or side effects. The real danger may be the possible delay in seeking professional help for the dependence.
Whereas the B-ring in flavones is in the 2-position (e.g., apigenin, A), for isoflavones it is in the 3-position (e.g., genistein, B). Though there have been limited clinical trials of the single use of Gegen, it can be a potential candidate to suppress aging-related neuronal cell apoptosis and dysfunction of the memory system. Someone who is told by their doctor to cut down on drinking for health reasons might, he says. Penetar holds the investigational new-drug application for puerarin. McLean Hospital has a licensing agreement with NPI for the extract. Today, it’s used in China and other countries to treat coronary problems and blood-flow problems, Penetar says.
While kudzu does not quite make the cut, it is definitely worth trying if you’re looking to cut down on or quit drinking. Taking kudzu will not turn an alcoholic into a nondrinker overnight. Nor will it drastically enhance your quality of life after the first dose. However, if you want to cut down on drinking or detoxify your body during alcohol withdrawal, kudzu may be able to help. In this article, I’m going to discuss how to use kudzu recovery for alcoholism. Kudzu is an invasive weed that has also been used to treat alcoholism for well over one thousand years. And so after that week of treatment, when they came to the lab, we measured their drinking using a very specialized table that we had developed that actually has a scale built into it. And the table actually weighs the mug of beer, and each time they took a sip, we could actually see how much they were consuming each time.
The kudzu vine, imported from Japan in 1876, has been written about in Chinese medical literature for centuries for its general health benefits. But recently, it has been tested for its ability to reduce alcohol cravings. The results showed pre-treatment with kudzu extract had little to no effect on the participant’s behavioral, physical or cognitive performance. However, the researchers did note that treatment with kudzu caused an increase in heart rate, skin temperature and blood ethanol levels in the participants. Based on this, the researchers hypothesized that an increase in blood ethanol levels could translate into increased effects from the first alcoholic drink and delay an individual’s desire for subsequent drinks. A study of heavy drinkers who were not in a treatment program found that taking kudzu had no effect on their alcohol cravings. But it did reduce the number of drinks they had each week by a third to a half.
A 2017 research review found that acupuncture helped with alcohol cravings and withdrawal. This article describes some natural treatments to support AUD treatment. It also explains why it’s important to find effective treatments. Whatever treatments you choose, make sure to discuss the benefits and risks with your healthcare team. A small 2009 case report involving 16 people with regular cluster headaches provides some anecdotal evidence.
Kudzu root may help treat some of the most common menopausal complaints, including hot flashes and night sweats. The kudzu plant resembles poison ivy, so it’s important to know how to identify it correctly. Hi Diane, I followed the directions for maximum dosage on the Planetary Herbals Kudzu. Kudzu was introduced to the United States in the late 19th century, and can now be found covering millions of acres across the United kudzu root for alcohol cravings States. It is often sprayed with herbicide, so unfortunately your best bet for organic kudzu is a store or the Internet. Development of a recognized, validated testing method and threshold equol value or equol-to-daidzein ratio will aid future interpretation of evidence. Further research and survey of the evidence may reveal differences among individuals or populations that account for these seemingly conflicting findings.
“Recently, preclinical studies with animals have shown reductions in alcohol consumption when treated with isoflavones contained in the kudzu root,” said Penetar. “Therefore, the next step in the research was to assess the effects of kudzu extract on different physical, behavioral and cognitive features in humans.” However, Lukas et al. from McLean Hospital designed a study to test the efficacy of a kudzu extract in a clinical population. Specifically, male and female “heavy” alcohol drinkers were treated with either placebo or a kudzu extract for 7 days and then given an opportunity to drink their preferred brand of beer while in a naturalistic environment.
With other programs, you live at home but visit a treatment center daily. A 2017 research review did not find that this therapy was more effective than other forms of relapse prevention. They train you to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and cravings rather than simply reacting to them. On blood pressure, fibrinolysis and oxidative stress in patients with stage 1 hypertension. Comparison of Pueraria mirifica gel and conjugated equine estrogen cream effects on vaginal health in postmenopausal women. Protective effect of puerarin against burn-induced heart injury in rats. Kudzu root can be cooked or eaten, but is mostly used as a dietary supplement in the form of tablets, drops, or powdered mixes. The most popular forms available appear to be powdered drink mixes, capsules, disintegrating tablets, and liquid extract drops.
Since consuming alcohol while taking kudzu extract is not aversive, another explanation is necessary to account for the extremely fast onset of action observed in the present study. The most obvious is one that involves alcohol pharmacokinetics. The correlational analysis of absolute amount of alcohol consumed and breath alcohol levels in this study indicates that the physiological effects and the rate of elimination of ingested alcohol are not altered by kudzu administration. This was demonstrated in our previous study (Penetar et al., 2011) where pharmacokinetic parameters such as peak concentration and elimination time were not affected by kudzu. This interpretation of kudzu’s possible mechanism of action was also suggested by Wong et al. who postulated that kudzu alters peripheral and cerebral blood flow. Puerarin, one of the most abundant isoflavones in kudzu root extracts, is a known vasodilator and is approved for such use in China following coronary infarction and stroke (Wu et al., 2014). In spite of the compelling preclinical and clinical evidence of its efficacy, the precise mechanism of action of kudzu in reducing alcohol consumption is not currently known. Prior studies of its antidipsotropic effect have focused on taste-aversion, alterations in alcohol metabolism or effects on neurotransmitters. Overstreet et al.’s study provides cursory evidence that a taste aversion mechanism is not likely. Increases in 5-HIAL have been shown to be correlated with decreased alcohol consumption in hamsters (Keung et al., 1995).
If asked about herbal treatments for a drinking problem, it is advisable to recommend speaking with a professional rather than self-treatment with over-the-counter supplements. For targeting alcohol dependence, studies have used dosages of 1.2 grams of kudzu root extract per day over 1 week, or a single dose of 2 grams before drinking alcohol, without noted side effects . In some instances, even a single dose of kudzu extract reduced alcohol consumption and prevented binge drinking . The study found the treatment with the kudzu extract resulted in a significant reduction in the number of beers consumed. Kudzu treatment also resulted in the number of sips and length of time for consuming each beer, as well as a decrease in the volume of each sip. Individuals treated with kudzu extract drank less beer, and they drank more slowly. There were no reported side effects from treatment with the kudzu extract. Alcoholism, a chronic condition characterized by intense alcohol cravings and an inability to cease drinking, affects about 18 million people in the United States, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center.
One of the ancillary factors in alcohol dependence is blood sugar imbalances. In fact our laboratory hypothesized that one such genetic factor that influences behavior including drug and food seeking is a predisposition to glucose craving and the overall effect of dopaminergic activity in the reward center of the brain. This defect drives individuals to engage in activities of behavioral excess, which will increase brain dopamine function, for which we created the term Reward Deficiency Syndrome to categorize such biological influences on behavior. Consuming large quantities of alcohol or carbohydrates stimulates the brain’s production and utilization of dopamine. So too does the intake of crack/cocaine and the abuse of nicotine.
Kudzu might harm the liver. In theory, taking kudzu along with medication that might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage.
Of course, it’s up to the individual to ensure that he or she doesn’t use this as an excuse to fall off the wagon. Several research groups have noted that adults also may change from nonproducer to producer status after heightened soy consumption, although not all studies concur. Franke et al. found that both post- and premenopausal women may begin to produce equol with increased isoflavone exposure. On average, the men and women drank 3.5 beers after placebo and 2.4 after puerarin. About 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drinks, according to a CDC report. According to the CDC, binge drinking is having four or more drinks on one occasion for a woman and five or more for a man. It is one of the substances known as isoflavones found in kudzu. Results are consistent with the interpretation that female sex steroids modulate aldehyde dehydrogenase function and practical implications are that females with elevated steroids may be at greater risk for toxic effects of ethanol consumption. Isoflavonoid compounds extracted from Pueraria lobata suppress alcohol preference in a pharmacogenetic rat model of alcoholism.
I’ve started taking kudzu root – it’s supposed to suppress cravings for alcohol & support willpower in cutting down. Fingers crossed!
— Flash Bristow (@techiebabe) February 27, 2015
Ashwagondha is an important herb in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Anecdotal reports and findings of animal studies suggest that Ashwagondha lessens the severity of withdrawal from morphine. Mice pre-treated with Ashwagondha for 10 days did not develop tolerance Sober House to analgesic effects of morphine, suggesting that Ashwagondha may have similar beneficial effects in human heroin addicts (Ramarao et al, 1995; Kulkarni & Ninan, 1997). Kudzu root has been known for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine as ge-gen.